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Lawl1324

UVic vs Osgoode vs Queens vs Ottawa (for crim)

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I would prefer to work in criminal law as a Crown or in other government work. I'm partial to Ontario (Toronto) since I grew up here but am open to working in BC especially if I go to Uvic and enjoy the west coast. Tuition is a huge factor for me. I had accepted Osgoode last year but the enormous debt I was looking at made me decide to take a year off and really evaluate law school in general. Osgoode's tuition only seems justifiable if I planned on going into BigLaw, which interests me less but is not entirely off the table. However, it does have great criminal law offerings as far as courses and clinics.

Would UVic hinder Ontario Crown and government chances?  Is Osgoode worth it for criminal law, or is another "cheaper" Ontario school a good compromise?

Thanks in advance

Edited by Lawl1324

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25 minutes ago, Lawl1324 said:

Osgoode's tuition only seems justifiable if I planned on going into BigLaw, which interests me less but is not entirely off the table. However, it does have great criminal law offerings as far as courses and clinics.

With the notable caveat that I didn't go to any of the schools listed, I think you're right to be cautious about Osgoode's cost. If you aspire towards a career in criminal law, then minimize your debt. Crown work pays a lot better than defence. But it's not unheard of to break into MAG/DOJ by taking fixed-term contracts, doing per-diem work, or getting some defence experience first. If that's where you are in a few years, you're much better off with smaller monthly payments and a lower overall debt load. I'd go somewhere cheaper, but again, I wasn't an Osgoode student, so I can't offer much insight on the value of their clinics vs. other clinics. 

Edited by realpseudonym
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Is there a reason you are considering UVic but not UBC? They have comparable admission standards, UBC has excellent crim offerings and low tuition, and UBC has more "brand recognition" out east than UVic (although they perform essentially the same in Van).

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3 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

Is there a reason you are considering UVic but not UBC? They have comparable admission standards, UBC has excellent crim offerings and low tuition, and UBC has more "brand recognition" out east than UVic (although they perform essentially the same in Van).

Thanks for your thoughts. I do plan on applying to UBC, but I'm more confident I would get into UVic. I have a 162 LSAT and about a 3.8 on the 4.3 gpa scale

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Real talk, if you want to work crown-side, and live in BC, I would support UBC over UVIC. I know a UVIC alum who made the mistake of saying they wanted to work crown, and they got pretty harshly treated by quite a few students who feel that the crown is... verging on evil, and just exists to put minorities/addicts in prison, etc. Not sure how I feel about it altogether, and UVIC is a great school with wonderful criminal law profs, but openly pursuing crown might be more accepted at a less "progressive" school IMO. Just my two cents.

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3 hours ago, DoWellAndGood said:

Real talk, if you want to work crown-side, and live in BC, I would support UBC over UVIC. I know a UVIC alum who made the mistake of saying they wanted to work crown, and they got pretty harshly treated by quite a few students who feel that the crown is... verging on evil, and just exists to put minorities/addicts in prison, etc. Not sure how I feel about it altogether, and UVIC is a great school with wonderful criminal law profs, but openly pursuing crown might be more accepted at a less "progressive" school IMO. Just my two cents.

Do crown attorneys not have a lot of discretion over who they charge? In my law 101 course the prof made it sound like prosecutors in the US "have to" charge people whether they like it or not, while here the crown attorney's job is to "find justice" which includes not charging someone if they feel like its not the right thing to do.

Edited by VitalGiraffe

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1 hour ago, VitalGiraffe said:

Do crown attorneys not have a lot of discretion over who they charge? In my law 101 course the prof made it sound like prosecutors in the US "have to" charge people whether they like it or not, while here the crown attorney's job is to "find justice" which includes not charging someone if they feel like its not the right thing to do.

From the PPSC website:

"As part of their quasi-judicial role as “ministers of justice,” Crown counsel ensure that prosecutions based on sufficient evidence and which best serve the public interest are brought before the courts. In the exercise of this power, Crown counsel have a high ethical duty to act independently, fairly and objectively without either negative or positive animus towards the accused."

This is one of the greatest appeals of being a Crown imo. Obligatory 0L disclaimer, but the discretion prosecutors have is enormous and it would seem that social justice minded lawyers could make huge impacts as Crowns, even though on the surface it seems as if you are the evil person arguing for people to go to jail.

However, discretion should not be confused as taking the law into their own hands.

@VitalGiraffe according to this video, US prosecutors do get similar discretion. It's also a good take on the social justice minded prosecutor perspective https://youtu.be/H1fvr9rGgSg?t=329

 

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@Lawl1324 can you explain to me why it is you’re convinced that the discretion a Crown prosecutor has is “enormous”, and give me an example how a “social justice-minded” Crown could make a “huge impact” conducting prosecutions? 
 

Are you sure you’re not confusing becoming a prosecutor with running for political office? 

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On 10/27/2020 at 12:25 PM, Lawl1324 said:

I would prefer to work in criminal law as a Crown or in other government work. I'm partial to Ontario (Toronto) since I grew up here but am open to working in BC especially if I go to Uvic and enjoy the west coast. Tuition is a huge factor for me. I had accepted Osgoode last year but the enormous debt I was looking at made me decide to take a year off and really evaluate law school in general. Osgoode's tuition only seems justifiable if I planned on going into BigLaw, which interests me less but is not entirely off the table. However, it does have great criminal law offerings as far as courses and clinics.

Would UVic hinder Ontario Crown and government chances?  Is Osgoode worth it for criminal law, or is another "cheaper" Ontario school a good compromise?

Thanks in advance

Other than some leg work, no. I had no issues getting Crown interviews in Toronto and I attended a B.C. law school. 

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@QuincyWagstaff thank you for your replies, I'm interested to know if you did exceptionally well in law school

What I mean is the role of prosecutor can have huge impacts on people's individual lives. A prosecutor who is social justice-minded might interpret what it means for a prosecution to be in the public's interest much differently than a tough-on-crime prosecutor. I think it is self-evident how much discretion prosecutors have, given that they can drop charges based on their interpretation on what the public interest is, within reason of course. Their role is "quasi-judicial".

What I would be interested to know is if there is a propensity for social justice-minded lawyers to avoid becoming prosecutors because they perceive them to be evil people who exist to put minorities/addicts in prison since @DoWellAndGood mentioned that is a prevailing attitude among Uvic "progressive" students. But given the discretion prosecutors have, it seems like a great place for a "progressive" person to reduce minorities/addicts going to prison, which they are upset about with in the first place. I'm not suggesting that a progressive person would drop charges on these groups if their crimes were clear-cut and heinous, but that they would drop charges more often in gray-zones or with the presence of extenuating circumstances. 

Did you become a Crown? If so, I'm interested to know your view on the discretion Crown's possess. 

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6 hours ago, Lawl1324 said:

@QuincyWagstaff thank you for your replies, I'm interested to know if you did exceptionally well in law school

Obviously I can't speak for @QuincyWagstaff but I will say my experience was similar to his (had no issues receiving interviews for Crown positions in Toronto and went to a BC law school) and I only had a low B+ average (barely top third of the class).

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@Lawl1324

I had above average grades, particularly in criminal-related courses. However, you’re going to need above average grades to get an interview for most Crown positions, regardless of whether they are in your home province or not. 
 

Yes, I did end up working in Crown prosecutions, but not immediately after graduation. 
 

With respect to determining what is or is not in the public interest, with respect, I think you’re misunderstanding how Crown charge assessment works. Whether a prosecution is or is not in the public interest is going to be based on policy and Crown guidelines (see the recent simple possession issue, as an example). Also, if a Crown makes a decision not to charge a file, that is most often going to be because it fails to meet the evidentiary standard (the first branch of the charge assessment test). 

 

Edited by QuincyWagstaff
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